07 February 2010


My RHS magazine arrived today with a picture of snowdrops on the front cover.

A year last autumn I planted ten little snowdrop bulbs, bought from a UK supermarket, as an experiment, in four different places in the garden. It is not, you might think, a plant that you would expect to see in this part of the world, but I love them so much that I thought it was worth a try. I put masses of leaf mould around them in the hope that they wouldn’t dessicate during our blistering summers. They’re planted in our ‘dingly dell’ – a mix of white and evergreen oaks and the ubiqitous pines, that almost grow like weeds here, creating a shady area – a perfect cool spot in the summer.

There are apparently 19 species of Galanthus – and I think mine are possibly G elwesii var. elwesii, as the green marks appear to merge to form an‘X’ and bloom from January to March – and “are native to central and southern Europe and parts of western Asia, where they flourish in cool woodlands and other shady habitats from sea level to around 2,000m (6,500ft). Snowdrops like deep, fertile, well-drained soil, moist in the growing season, but not waterlogged during their summer dormancy.” No chance of that here !

Last spring, all ten bulbs flowered. I searched and searched for signs of them and suddenly spotted them in two of the four locations – and they have obviously multiplied. A gardening friend who belongs to the MGS said that she had helped someone plant a thousand Spanish bluebells. I wonder …
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